HMC E-Newsletter June 28, 2012

Prayer Request for the Falla’s

The following letter came to us asking us to pray for the missionaries we support in Columbia:

Dear Supporters of Amanda and Gamaliel Falla

Amanda and Gamaliel recently moved from Barranquilla, Colombia, where they ministered as church planters, to Armenia, Gamaliel’s home town, where they continue to mentor pastors. In mid-June, Amanda developed severe kidney problems and was taken to the emergency room. After several days in intensive care, Amanda seemed to improve and was released from ICU to a regular room.  Yesterday, June 26, Amanda again became very ill and was taken for dialysis.

Pray for healing for Amanda and strength and peace for Gamaliel. Thank you for your ongoing support and prayer for Fallas.  Please share with others who will join in prayer.

CONNECTING MORE FULLY
►Memorize the Books of the Bible:
Remember, as part of our summer series we’re all memorizing the 66 books in the Bible. Grab your bookmark (provided at church) and (re)memorize God’s Word!
►OPEN HOUSE
There will be an Open House at the Hoffhien residence on Sunday, July 1 from 3:00-6:00 at her home in The Heights (See directory or call Judy, or pastor Marty for address). Bring a favorite snack or beverage to share and celebrate Judy’s birthday. No presents, please, but donations of vegetarian, non-perishable items for Food Not Bombs would be appreciated. All ages are invited, so come and have some fun!

Did you miss a sermon recently? Want to share it with someone you know? You can find past sermons at: houstonmennonite.org, sermon tab.
Kroger Donation Program: An easy way to donate money to HMC is to sign up for the Kroger Neighbor to Neighbor Program. When you use your Kroger card on purchases, Kroger will automatically add a portion to HMC’s account. Simply take the “customer letter” to your local Kroger store and have the cashier scan the bar code at the bottom to link up your Kroger Plus card. You are all set! The new program year begins July 1 so sign up now and begin earning money for the church!

►        What: HMC Women’s Luncheon
When: Saturday, August 4, 2012
Where: Brookwood Cafe in Brookshire
Time: 11:00 am

►        PEACE CAMP AT HMC There will be a 5 day session of Peace Camp at HMC from August 6-10 from 9 AM-3 PM. Ages 5-12 are invited to participate. The theme will be “Courage” and there will be special music, drama, puppets, gardening, yoga and other exciting activities. Check http://www.peacecamphouston.com for information or contact Judy Hoffhien. This is an excellent opporttunity for outreach in our community and city. Volunteers are always needed, so consider helping and sharing your skills and talents.

 ►Western District Conference annual gathering will be held July 6-8 in Oklahoma City. www.mennowdc.org for more information.


Mennonite’s Growing Presence in Houston!! Exciting read

The following excerpt comes from our conference newsletter, and tells about an are congregation seeking ties to the Mennonite church. You can read the whole newsletter at: http://mennowdc.org/resources/publications/wdc-e-memo/

An ethnic congregation already formed and underway is asking to join the Mennonite church. They are drawn to our convictions expressed in the Confession of Faith. They are drawn to our commitments to peacemaking, community, and following the Lord Jesus Christ in all things.

Chin Emmanuel Church, Houston, Texas, is seeking affiliation with Western District Conference as an “emerging church.” Chin people have been coming to North America as the result of political oppression and religious persecution in Myanmar. A number of congregations have affiliated with Mennonite Church Canada. On Sunday, May 20, Gilberto Flores, led the dedication of Chin Emmanuel’s new meeting place, installed their new pastor, Simon Lumang, commissioned 20 deacons, and blessed two congregational ministries – women’s ministry and youth ministry in a four and one half hour service. Flores was exhilarated by the vibrant faith expressed in worship and testimony…


Politics and Christianity: Then and Now
By Marty Troyer

It’s impossible to miss the fact we’re in a Presidential election cycle. News, advertisements, speeches, and water-cooler discussion is everywhere, and will only get more intense.

Does the Christian faith have anything to say about this? Is our faith public? Is it distinctly political? I for one confess no small amount of confusion and ambivalence about the whole thing this time around. So over the next months I’m going to try to process Election Year 2012 and the questions surrounding whether or not our faith is political. My blogging friend Kurt Willems recently posted a blog called, “Why I voted for Jesus instead of Obama in the primary” that I thought was helpful. And I’ll soon be posting a review and dialogue with author Tim Suttle, who authored Public Jesus.

But today I want to wrestle not so much with the content of theology, but with it’s particular early church expression.

To do so, let’s visit Collossae, where Paul visited and was the city to which he wrote the letter of Colossians. Through inscriptions and writing we know that in Collosae Caesar was considered to be Lord. He was even called “the image of the invisible god.” If you want to know who god was as an ancient citizen of Collosae, you don’t have to guess, but look to the man Caesar!

Caesar was proud to hold his empire together in 2 primary ways: Religious Patriotism, and Peace through Violence.

We get a very good taste of the first through an inscription at Priene, outside Collosae:

The most divine Caesar … we should consider equal to the Beginning of all things … for when everything was falling [into disorder] and tending towards dissolution, he restored it once more and gave to the whole world a new aspect; [He is] the common good fortune of all … the beginning of life and vitality … all the cities unanimously adopt [his birthday] as the new beginning of the year … the Providence which has regulated our whole existence … has brought our life to the fullness of perfection in giving to us [him], whom it filled with virtue for the welfare of men, and who, being sent to us and our descendants as a saviour, has put an end to war and has set all things in order and, having become god manifest, [he] has fulfilled all the hopes of earlier times … the birthday of [this divine one] has been for the whole world the beginning of the gospel concerning him. And therefore let a new era begin at his birth(Source: the inscription of the decree of the Provincial Assembly of Asia, OGIS 2, 458, quoted in Horsley, The Liberation of Christmas, p. 27.)

That’s pretty smart politicking, given how violently he suppressed pretty much everyone. But people seemed to buy his “bread and circuses” and the promise of a “Pax Romana (Roman Peace).”

Now into that context you have the early church trying to do its thing. On the one hand they were committed to faithfulness to God and allegiance to Jesus Christ, wanting to live the life they felt called to live. And on the other hand they wanted others to see and hear their message too. They wanted to spread the message, and invite others to join them in what God was doing.

So how did they do their God-talk? How, in this context, did they attempt to remain faithful?

Let’s see how Paul answers those questions by looking at one passage, Colossians 1:15-20.

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in himall things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of Godwas pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.”

Did you notice the bold sections, the obvious parallels and use of the same phrasing and imagery? No longer do these phrases apply to Caesar, but the early church has co-opted Caesar’s language and imprinted it onto Jesus! Paul is subverting empire! Can you imagine a more treasonous act? No wonder the early church was accused in the book of Acts of “turning the world upside down” and “proclaiming another king besides Caesar.” That’s EXACTLY what they were doing. Paul subverts to tell a counter-cultural story which empowers a counter-cultural community. He sums the difference between Caesar and Jesus up nicely in 1:13, saying Jesus “has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son.” In other words, it’s Jesus’ kingdom, not Caesar’s empire that deserves our allegiance. Only Jesus’ gospel is truly good news.

So what do you think, is our faith political or not? It’s seems wondrously obvious to me: both the content and the format of our faith calls us to the Politics of Jesus. It will include more than this, but it will not include less.

I often wonder how different patriotism for the church in the United States would be today if we weren’t so concerned about mimicking the content of Paul’s theology, but instead mimicked the style and format for his God talk. I’ll dig deeper into that question as I work my way toward the ballot box this November. I invite you to join me. Peace.


GOD’S STORY (YOU ARE HERE) July 1, 2012
Worship Leader: Alan Wilson; Song Leader: Jim Emmert; Children’s Story: Jane McNair; Pianist: Margaret Gehman; Speaker: Marty Troyer.

Praising
Welcome words and theme intro
Opening Prayer
Call to Worship             SJ #177
Songs of Praise and Celebration
Jesus calls us SJ #3
God of the Bible
SJ #27

*Offering and Offertory

Hearing
Scripture                                   Hebrews 1:1-4 & Colossians 1:13-20
Children’s Time
Moment in Mission with Kristi Long
Sermon For God so loved the world

Responding
Response Song Of the Father’s Love begotten #104 HWB
Communion
*Sharing & Prayer

Sending
Connecting More Fully
Sending Scripture Letter (1 Peter 2:1-5,9-10)         By council member
Commissioning:
Song of Sending            HWB 594 Lord, you sometimes speak

Here’s a Summer Series Summary (say that 3 times really fast!)

Act 1: Creation: It is very good!
Act 2: The Fall: Something has gone terribly wrong.
Act 3: God’s Solution, Part 1: Israel
Act 4: God’s Solution, Part 2: Jesus
Act 5: The age of the Church

Scene 1: The New Testament Church
Scene 2: Church History
Scene 3: Houston, TX, 2012
Scene 4: Future History

Epilogue: Remember the Future


Christian Formation Options at HMC:
Join us each Sunday morning at 9:30AM!
►Adults:
Bible Study.
►Junior High/High School Youth:  Faith Exploration with Pastor Marty. In the annex.
** Children’s Church:  During worship in our children’s ministry room for kids aged 1-5. They learn a Bible story, sing, and play together.


Pastoral Care: Do you want a person to talk with about something in your life? Got a question or insight into faith or scripture you want to kick around? Have you been sitting on a great idea for the church? Need prayer? Want to get to know your pastor better? As your pastor, I’m available to meet with you at the office or at a time and spot that works better for you. Just let me know when and where! Monday’s through Thursdays, and weekends by appointment. Marty Troyer, church office (713)464-4865, hmcpastor1@sbcglobal.net, also available on Facebook.


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